Devil Wears Prada Turns 15: Meryl Streep’s Miranda Priestly Is The Worthwhile Boss
When The Devil Wears Prada released 15 years ago, it was considered a coming-of-age movie for Andy, played by Anne Hathaway, whose life revolves around his boss Miranda Priestly, performed by Meryl Streep. While on first viewing it may seem that Andy is the heroine and Miranda is the bad one, the elaborate internet talk around the film over the past few years has made us look at the film from different angles, as has the conversation about women in the workplace did. changed dramatically.
At first, The Devil Wears Prada comes across as an ordinary romantic comedy where Andy’s personal life crumbles because his boss Miranda is too demanding. She expects perfection in every department, wants her team to be on their A-game at all times and doesn’t tolerate mediocrity and that’s because she ticks all of those boxes herself. As Andy herself admits in the film – If Miranda were a man, this sort of behavior wouldn’t have earned her the label of “Dragon Lady,” but she would rather be applauded for her work ethic. To put it simply, a woman like Miranda deserves to be celebrated and the film emphasizes that in every scene that features her. Looking closely, it’s almost impossible to find a scene in the film where Miranda isn’t working and shows the kind of dedication she has towards her job.
Take, for example, the now iconic “cerulean sweater” scene. Miranda has an entire conversation about fashion history as she tries to find the perfect look for an article in the magazine. Even though Andy can’t tell two belts apart, Miranda understands the power of fashion and can train it for her. The film examines the perception of successful women in the workplace in multiple locations. Another divorce, another public scandal and the stiff competition that Miranda faces while maintaining a tough exterior shows that she cannot let her guard down for even a second because in her world, being vulnerable, which is traditionally seen as a feminine trait, is equivalent to being weak.
Meryl Streep, who played Miranda to perfection, is a quintessential actress. And although she has given incredible performances in her career, The Devil Wears Prada was a big departure for her in terms of gender. Until then, Meryl was typically seen in serious drama films, but The Devil Wears Prada has promised her viewers that she can’t hurt, even when she’s in a seemingly mainstream light-hearted movie.
In a recent reunion interview with Entertainment Tonight, Meryl and costume designer Patricia Field opened up about choosing her hairstyle in the film. Patricia recalled that the studio weren’t convinced Miranda had short white hair, but when Streep walked into the office she pulled out a Miranda and the room went silent. Patricia recalled that it was the actor’s magic that could just walk in without saying a word and still be heard. Anne Hathaway, who was also part of the interview, recalled that during her first reading with Streep, she realized the power of silence and how saying something in a low voice could be so much more bossy than shouting it.
Meryl’s dialogues from the film have now achieved cult status, thanks to the countless memes that typically appear in the springtime, but there is something to enjoy about a film that was made 15 years ago and still stands. The Devil Wears Prada features two female characters at odds with each other, but it is their differences that make it a film that deserves to be revisited. And with each rehearsal, you are bound to realize that Andy is not that helpless and that Miranda is definitely not the vampire she is meant to be.
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